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SAN DIEGO (NewsNation Now) — Video shows a passenger throwing multiple punches at a flight attendant, causing facial and dental injuries, on a flight from Sacramento to San Diego, which resulted in a police escort and arrest of the suspect.
The 44-second video recorded Sunday by another passenger depicts a woman striking the flight attendant, before yet another passenger jumped up from his seat to stop the altercation. The video was obtained by NewsNation affiliate KSWB.
In a statement, Southwest Airlines said the passenger “repeatedly ignored standard inflight instructions” and became “verbally and physically abusive” as Flight 700 from Sacramento landed at San Diego International Airport.
The flight attendant reportedly suffered facial injuries including the loss of two teeth, according to a union representing Southwest Airlines flight attendants. She was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital, police said.
Officers arrested Vyvianna Quinonez, 28, on suspicion of battery causing serious bodily injury, Port of San Diego Harbor Police said. She was booked into Las Colinas Detention Facility.
San Diego resident Michelle Manner, who recorded the video from two rows in front of the altercation, told KSWB that the flight attendant provoked the incident.
“Vyvianna had said to her three times that we could hear ‘get off of me,’ ‘quit touching me,’ ‘get your hands off of me,’” Manner said.
Manner said she was not able to record the first confrontation, which she said included the flight attendant telling Quinonez to put on her face mask after it may have fallen below her nose.
“It was so unnecessary,” Manner said. “In the first altercation, she had said she was going to call the captain. She should have just stayed there in her back cubby.”
Quinonez’s family told KSWB that they were not yet ready to speak publicly about the ordeal.
Since January, the Federal Aviation Administration has received some 2,500 reports of “unruly behavior by passengers.” Of those, about 1,900 are reports of passengers refusing to comply with federal mask rules, the agency said in a Monday news release.
In a letter Monday, Lyn Montgomery, the president of TWU Local 556, demanded that Southwest Airlines leaders move to better protect their crews against unruly passengers.
“We ask that you take a strong stance to ensure that unruly passengers are not welcome to travel with us, period, full stop,” she said.
NewsNation affiliate KSWB contributed to this report.